Time to Change the Rules for Field Day

I just finished writing about how Field Day can be “seasoned to taste”…adapted to your particular interests. Overall, I think the ARRL has done a good job of crafting Field Day rules that provide some incentives for certain types of operation and activities. Get On the Air (GOTA) station, the free VHF station, and Class F (EOC location) are examples of positive rule changes that have been made over the years.

Still, I think there is room for improvement:

  • Eliminate the point advantage for CW and Digital contacts Why does Field Day have a scoring scheme that favors a particular mode? That is, CW and Digital contacts count 2 points versus 1 point for Phone. If these modes have some kind of efficiency advantage, then let that be the reward.  If not, then why the scoring incentive? The point benefit makes no sense to me, so I would eliminate that 2X advantage.
  • More Points for VHF/UHF Field Day is supposed to be about operating under simulated emergency communications. However, most real life EmComm activity makes heavy use of FM VHF and UHF to get the job done.  I would increase the number of points awarded for contacts on 144 MHz and higher to 2 points per contact, to compensate for the natural shorter range of these frequencies.
  • Remove Restriction on 146.52 MHz Also to encourage VHF operating, I would eliminate the prohibition against using 146.52 MHz. No other calling frequency is restricted in this way.
  • Make the Contest 24 Hours Field Day is set up to run 27 hours as long as you don’t set up at the start of the contest. It seems that must clubs set up early and just operate the first 24 hours. I would just simplify the event and make it 24 hours.
  • Bonus Points for VHF Packet or APRS Modern traffic handling uses digital methods, so I would encourage this by offering 100 bonus points for either establishing a functioning APRS station or packet radio system.
  • Require Electronic Log Submission Come on, this is the 21st Century….paper logs should be eliminated and all logs should be submitted electronically.

Well, my VHF+ tendencies are showing. These are my suggestions—what do you think?

73, Bob K0NR

6 Replies to “Time to Change the Rules for Field Day”

  1. I wouldn’t get rid of paper log submission. A computer wouldn’t always be available in an emergency scenario.

  2. One more thing… I’d get much more enjoyment out of FD if it were held in milder weather. Here in central AL, the heat at the end of June is oppressive, even dangerous, especially for folks with health issues. I’d like to see two FD events, Winter and Summer, or at least move it outside of hurricane season when it’s less likely to be interrupted by a real emergency.

  3. Bryan,
    Thanks for the comments. On the weather issue, you can certainly tell that Field Day was defined by someone in the northern part of the country. I had someone from Texas comment to me a while back that the best FD site down south is an airconditioned EOC! It had never occurred to me before since June is a great outdoors month further north.

    73, Bob K0NR

  4. I would agree with all but the 2X multiplier for cw/digi. As a digi op, it takes a lot longer to make a exchange compared to voice. The time it would have take to make a digi contact, 2 or 3 voice QSO’s could have happened. If the ARRL were to drop the 2X multipler, you would see a decrease in cw/digi stations because it would be considered a time consuming mode for those who see field day as a contest.

    As for changing the month,that would be great (Not to have two FD’s, ewww). In New England, the 4th week of June can get as high as 95f and with 95%+ humidity, making it a very sticky and sweaty Field Day. No luxury for AC (Other than a fan)

    Just my 2 cents,
    N1BMX – Jeff

  5. how about no extra points for running on emergency power. With the price of gas and the noise they make
    it would make it a little less noisy and less painfull on the pocket book. the main thing is that a generator is available and could be used

  6. Honestly I’ve love to see them move Field Day, for the simple reason that it creates a conflict with Pride. Of course, that’s not a reason that is likely to go over well with a lot of the people who hang out on 75 meters. 🙂

    Moving it much earlier would put it in the middle of the Midwest’s tornado season, moving it later would put it even deeper in the Southeast’s hurricane season, and doing it in winter would make life really hard for anyone in the Snow Belt. Not really sure when a good time is.

    Randy, did you know that F stations (operated out of EOCs) get the emergency power credit as long as the emergency power is available, whether or not it’s actually used? Frankly I think the F class stations are a joke and should be eliminated; they’re only there as an incentive to push hams into EOCs.